The Jbay Recycling Project celebrated by Renewable Energy Sector & Minister
Two representatives of the J Bay Recycling Project were granted the opportunity of a lifetime this week, when attended Parliament on the day that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson delivered her Department’s budget vote speech.
This community programme situated in Pellsrus, is supported by the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, who alerted the Independent Power Producer’s (IPP) office as to the value of the JBay Recycling Project, within the local community. The IPP office invited Tanja Lategan (project coordinator) and Banele Gwanqa (8), a participant in the J Bay Recycling Project, to attend not only the Parliamentary session, but also an expo and networking lunch event attended by stakeholders in the renewable energy sector.
Banele, has been attending the Project since he was five years old. He is one of the four siblings who regularly bring their recyclables to the Project in exchange for “mulas” to buy from the on-site swop shop. The IPP chose him from the photographs on J Bay Recyling Project’s FB page to be representative example (poster child) of an existing project supported by the renewable energy industry, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm. He is one of more than 70 children who have earned bicycles in this way, in his case by collecting and delivering 150kg of plastic.
Banele is a pupil at Makukhanye School in Pellsrus. This was his first time ever away from his mother, first time on a plane and of course the first (but maybe not the last) time he met with politicians in parliament.
Tanja and Banele sat in the gallery during the budget speech and debate in the House of Assembly, during which Banele and his achievement received a special mention. From there they were transported to the expo lunch at V&A Waterfront’s Shimmy Beach Club. At the entrance to the Expo, Banele was featured on a life size banner describing the manner in which the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm is assisting the local community.
At the lunch, Minister Joemat-Pettersson, whisked Banele away as her special guest to be seated next to her. She even arranged a special meal for him, something that was more desirable to an eight year old than the sushi on offer. The Minister made a second speech at the expo, again mentioning Banele’s achievement, asking him to stand on his chair as everybody applauded. A lot of people fawned over and admired Banele, who was the only child at the event, telling him he was an inspiration.
Lots of interest was shown in the J Bay Recycling Project by the attendees, especially by people wanting to start similar projects in their areas. Banele and the J Bay Recycling Project were definitely the stars of the day, even though there were other worthy beneficiaries present at the functions.
The J Bay Recycling Project received a donation of R70 000 from the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm in 2014 and are looking forward to future association with them.
Banele was overwhelmed by all the attention, but did the whole Jeffreys Bay proud with his exemplary behavior throughout. His other highlights included meeting former Springbok rugby player Ashwin Willemse and a trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Project Coordinator Tanja Lategan said “The JBay Recycling Project is a non-profit, public benefit organization, run entirely by volunteers. We would like to thank all our generous supporters and keen volunteers who have made a difference in the lives of so many children over the past four and a half years. We invite the public and local businesses, schools and groups to visit our website or Facebook pages for information on how they can visit or volunteer. “
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